Just like humans, cancers also strike in pets and they show some warning signs which, if ignored, can become extremely devastating for a pet parent. “Even in pets like hamsters, parrots and rabbits, signs of cancer can be observed. Cancer is an avoidable threat as the pet ages. Early diagnosis can be the best thing to help pets live a quality life with the help of proper treatment,” says Dr Aishwarya R, veterinary officer at Wiggles.
According to the doctor, the following signs may indicate that your pet has cancer; read on.
* Appetite and weight loss
If your pet isn’t eating much, it may be a warning sign. Sudden weight loss can also be a sign of cancer. Cancerous cells take a lot of energy and nutrition away, leading to weight loss. Even with pets like parrots, hamsters and rabbits, weight loss may be an indication of cancer.
* Difficulty in eating or swallowing
If your pet is finding it difficult to eat and swallow, it may be a sign that something is wrong, and it could be cancer. This is observed in cats, dogs, and also in rabbits, hamsters, and parrots.
* Sudden lethargy
Pets are generally active when awake, but if you observe them sleeping more than usual and showing absolutely no interest in activities, something might be wrong. “Sudden lethargy is not a good sign. Pain can be the prime reason for it and a visit to the vet is highly recommended,” says the doctor.
* Vomiting, diarrhea and bad breath
Diarrhea and vomiting are most commonly seen in pets and can be caused by several factors. “If diarrhea and vomiting persist for a longer period, cancer could be the culprit. An immediate visit to the vet is needed. Foul breath might also be an indication of cancer or any other ailment,” says Dr. Aishwarya.
* Non-healing sores, wounds
According to the expert, cancer affects the immune system. Cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters and parrots can develop sores and even the smallest scratches will refuse to heal if your pet is suffering from cancer.
* Lumps and abnormal swelling
Lumps and bumps in the abdomen might indicate unwanted growth inside. “An immediate visit to the vet and timely diagnosis is recommended. Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA) can be used for microscopic examination to detect cancer. Abnormal swelling that persists or continues to grow can be a sign of cancer; tumors are commonly found in birds as they age,” says the doctor.
* Bleeding or discharge from any opening
Bleeding from any body opening can be an alarming sign. If not bleeding, any type of discharge can also be an indication that your pet is suffering from cancer.
* Breathing issues
Breathlessness or difficulty in breathing is observed in pets suffering from cancer. If your pet is having breathing issues, consult a vet immediately. It might be a warning sign which needs to be treated on time.
“Apart from these, seizures, difficulty in urinating and defecating can also be signs of cancer in cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits and parrots. They would need to be observed,” the vet concludes.
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